The World Magic Cup. It may very well be the most thrilling event to watch and be a part of each year. Fewer things compare to the comradery of countrymen when they work together in order to bring those four trophies back home with them.
At the conclusion of Pro Tour Magic 2015 earlier this month, the national champions for this year's World Magic Cup were locked. These players are the top pro point earners of their countries, and they will have the honor of leading their teams this December.
But what of those three remaining slots on each team? Well, let's get to that, shall we?
Last weekend, 72 countries held their first round of World Magic Cup Qualifiers (WMCQs). The winners of these prestigious events earn one of three available slots given to each country for the 2014 World Magic Cup. And, as expected, players showed their excitement for last weekend's festivities on Twitter, where we were able to get some updates on what went on.
While we wait on the list of winners to be confirmed and finalized, we do have a couple of key updates, as well as a few special Qualifier events to look back on.
Perhaps the WMCQ to make the most waves online last weekend was the one held in United States, as ChannelFireball hosted the first WMCQ for the USA. A total of 411 players made the trek to Oakland, California, to compete in what was the second-most-attended WMCQ of the weekend, with only the Philippines sitting above the United States in thanks to the 424 players who showed up there.
The event featured a wide variety of top players who were battling for their slots in the World Magic Cup, including 15th-ranked Eric Froehlich, No. 4 William Jensen, and No. 8 Tom Martell.
In the end, it was Californian Isaac Sears who earned his slot on the World Magic Cup at the end of the day.
The deck he used to earn his invitation?
ChannelFireball streamed both their World Magic Cup Qualifier as well as Sunday's Pro Tour Qualifier on Twitch.TV. You can catch the broadcast of the World Magic Cup Qualifier at their Twitch.TV page, with a rotating cast of commentators that includes more than a few recognizable names from Magic's current Top 25 players.
But the United States wasn't the only WMCQ that you can find in Twitch.TV's past broadcasts. HappyMTG streamed Japan's WMCQ from the Hareruya Tournament Center on Saturday, and you can catch those broadcasts over on their Twitch page.
Meanwhile, in Europe:
Platinum Pro Martin Jůza made his way to 2nd place at the Czech Republic WMCQ, ultimately losing to Josef Vlach, who will be joining 6th-ranked player Stanislav Cifka on the Czech Republic World Magic Cup Team.
Hall of Famer and official coverage reporter Olle Råde won Sweden's WMCQ last weekend. This is not only the second year in a row that Råde has won a WMCQ, but it is also the second time that he will be joining National Champion Joel Larsson on Sweden's World Magic Cup team. Another key player found in Sweden's WMCQ Top 8 is 2013 World Magic Cup competitor Kenny Oberg, who met his end in the quarterfinals in his attempt to return to the World Magic Cup.
In addition to Råde , after our first round of WMCQs, the following 2013 World Magic Cup competitors will be returning this December to Nice, France, for a shot at representing their country once again:
- Stephanos Michailides of Cyprus
- German Levikov of Latvia
- Andrej Loparski of Macedonia
- Dean Convery of Northern Ireland
- Tamas Nagy of Hungary
- Andreas Ganz of Switzerland
That's seven returning World Magic Cup competitors after just the first round of WMCQs. These players are showcasing just why they deserve to represent their countries in multiple years.
The second round of World Magic Cup Qualifiers will be taking place on August 30–31. The third round of WMCQs takes place on September 13–14. In the meantime, however, we've got a double-Grand Prix weekend to look forward to.
Japan will be hosting its first Modern Grand Prix since Yokohama in 2012 this weekend in Kōbe, where some of Japan's greatest will compete in the country's first Grand Prix of the season. We'll be bringing you text coverage both days while NicoNico provides live video coverage of all the action happening in one of Japan's biggest cities.
In addition to Kōbe, Australia will also be playing host to a Grand Prix this weekend in Sydney, as players down under will be tearing into the Magic 2015 Sealed format on Day One. Exceptional Sealed Deck players will return on Day Two to show off their knowledge of the Magic 2015 Draft format, where an eventual winner will be crowned. We'll be bringing you text coverage of all the action from Sydney, Australia, this weekend.
That's all for this week. Congratulations to the World Magic Cup Qualifier #1 winners, and best of luck to those attending the second WMCQ later this month. Remember, you can stay up to date on all the action happening at WMCQs all across the world by following the #WMCQ hashtag.